Archives [архіви; arkhivy]. In Kyivan Rus’ the more important documents were preserved in the princely archives or the episcopal archives (of the Church of the Tithes and the Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv), in monasteries (the Kyivan Cave Monastery and Vydubychi Monastery), and probably in private (boyar) archives. During the Lithuanian-Polish period the main depositories of archival documents were the city courts, county courts, and pidkomorskyi courts as well as the central state collection located in Cracow and known as the Lithuanian Register until 1569 and the Crown Register after the Union of Lublin. Various town and church institutions had their archives, as did individuals, but most of them perished in wars, rebellions, fires, and the like.
In the Hetman state of the 17th–18th century, the first efforts were made to centralize archives in Ukraine. Besides the archives of the various governing institutions of the Zaporozhian Host, from the time of Bohdan Khmelnytsky the Hetman archive was located in Chyhyryn. Its principal documents were taken to Poland by Hetman Pavlo Teteria (1665) and to Moscow by Petro Doroshenko (1676). The losses of the state archives during the Ruin (1670s) were covered to some extent by the church archives, such as the archive of the Kyivan Cave Monastery. Under hetmans Ivan Samoilovych and Ivan Mazepa the archive of the General Military Chancellery became the central state archive and was overseen by the general secretary.
The archive of Ivan Mazepa's government was seized and largely destroyed by Aleksandr Menshikov during his sack of Baturyn in 1708. It is possible that some of the more important documents of this archive were taken abroad by Mazepa and found their way into Hetman Pylyp Orlyk's hands. Even before this a new central state archive attached to the General Military Chancellery was set up in Hlukhiv. Known as the Little Russian General Archive, it had its own archivist during Kyrylo Rozumovsky's rule. Archivists were usually highly educated individuals—such as S. Divovych and M. Tumansky—who were particularly interested in history and literature. The archive suffered extensive losses during the great fires of 1748 and 1784 in Hlukhiv. Remnants of the general archive, along with the archives of various institutions, particularly monasteries, found their way first to the gubernia archive of Novhorod-Siverskyi and then to the archives of Chernihiv, Poltava, and Kyiv.
Eventually, in the 19th century, they were transferred to the archives of Kyiv and Kharkiv, and a part of them was shipped to Russia (where they survived as late as the 1920s) or found their way into private collections such as that of Mykola Markevych in Moscow.
In the absence of a central state archive in Ukraine, many archival materials were scattered, destroyed, or lost in the 19th century. Some were preserved in the archives of state institutions (administrative, judicial, military, financial, etc); churches and monasteries; civic, estate, and scholarly institutions; private collections; etc. The lack of suitable facilities, funds, and proper care and protection from theft, fire, and atmospheric influences resulted in the loss of many materials, and often of entire important holdings. Furthermore, the centralist policies of the Russian government, beginning with Peter I, were seriously detrimental to the development of Ukrainian archives. Many Ukrainian archival documents were taken out of Ukraine on orders from the tsarist government or local authorities and ended up in Russian state archives or in private collections. Only a small part of this material was recovered after the Revolution of 1917.
In the mid-19th century Ukrainian scholars and civic leaders introduced measures to preserve and consolidate old archives. In 1852 the Kyiv Central Archive of Old Documents was established at Kyiv University. It had several thousand (5,883) volumes of records and other documents, such as city court, land court, and pidkomorskyi court documents and monastery documents from Right-Bank Ukraine of the 16th–18th centuries. In 1880 a historical archive was set up at Kharkiv University to preserve 17th- and 18th-century documents.
These archives, together with the gubernia learned archival commissions, which were established at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century in Chernihiv, Katerynoslav, Poltava, and Simferopol, made an important contribution to the improvement of archives and the advancement of historical and archeographical research.
The first attempts to establish a national archival structure in Ukraine were made during the period of Ukraine’s struggle for independence (1917–1920). These, however, consisted largely of plans that lacked both the time and money for implementation. Under the Central Rada Oleksander Hrushevsky, who headed the library-archives branch of the UNR’s secretariat (later ministry) of education from September 1917 to April 1918, set out plans for archival development in the fledgling republic—including the establishment of a national archive as well as the provision of state support for existing regional archives and the creation of new ones. After the Ukrainian State was established in April 1918 Vadym Modzalevsky was put in charge of the archival-library branch of the newly established Chief Administration for Arts and National Culture Affairs under the ministry of people’s education; Hrushevsky co-operated with his efforts to develop a centralized archival system and even participated in drafting the statute for a Ukrainian National Archive in the summer of 1918. Modzalevsky retained his position after the Directory of the Ukrainian National Republic assumed power in December 1918. After the Directory’s was forced to leave Kyiv early in February 1919 by the advance of Bolshevik troops toward the capital, it established an archival commission (headed by Pylyp Klymenko) under the ministry of people’s education.
The first Soviet Ukrainian archival body was the library-archives section of the All-Ukrainian Committee for the Preservation of Ancient and Artistic Monuments, which was formed in Kharkiv in January 1919 and headed initially by Viktor Barvinsky. The section was moved to Kyiv in short order and headed briefly (April–June 1919) by Modzalevsky. It managed to establish the Ukrainian Chief Archive and house in it the collections of Kyiv institutions that had been closed down. Responsibility for archival matters was then transferred to the Chief Administration for Archival Matters under one of the branches of the Ukrainian SSR People’s Commissariat for Education in July 1919. In turn, it was succeeded by the Chief Archival Administration of the People’s Commissariat for Education in September 1921. During this period the responsibility for assessing the historic value of individual archives (and/or certain of their holdings) fell to the Special All-Ukrainian Archival Commission, which was active from February 1920 to August 1921. As well, in 1922 a regular system of gubernial archival administrations (hubarkhy) was developed.
The establishment of the Central Archival Administration (Ukrtsentrarkhiv) of the All-Ukrainian Central Executive Committee in January 1923 represented a milestone in archival development in Soviet Ukraine. Active until 1938, Ukrtsentrarkhiv was able to consolidate archival work in the republic and oversee its orderly administration. It was given jurisdiction of many of the country’s key repositories, including the Central State Historical Archive (est 1920) and Central State Archive of the Revolution (est 1920) in Kharkiv as well as the Kyiv Central Historical Archive (aka the Antonovych Central Archive, est 1922) and the Kyiv Central Archive of Old Documents (acquired in 1924). It expanded the number of archives in the republic and set up gubernial historical archives. By the latter 1930s Ukraine had a solid network of archival institutions. Ukrtsentrarkhiv published the journal Arkhivna sprava (1926–31), which was succeeded by Radians’kyi arkhiv (1931–2). It also made specific efforts, particularly in the 1920s) to assist in upgrading the qualifications of archival workers in Ukraine.
Administrative territorial division changes required some redefinition of local or regional archival administrative bodies in 1925, when the gubernias were abolished and restructured along okruha lines, and in 1932, when the okruha system was abandoned in favour of oblasts. The earlier gubernia archival bodies were restructured first along okruha, and then oblast, lines.
Archives and archivists in Ukraine suffered the same fate as other Soviet Ukrainian institutions and individuals involved in scholarly activity. Spetsfondy, established in 1931, limited access to many significant collections. Moreover, a major purge of archive workers began early in 1933, resulting in the dismissal of numerous experienced people and their replacement with more politically reliable personnel. Fittingly, in April 1938 control over Ukraine’s archival network was handed over to the USSR Commissariat of Internal Affairs. In March 1939 control over the Ukrainian archives were given to the republic’s NKVD security service.
In 1941–3 the Ukrainian SSR archival administration was evacuated from the country. In 1947 it was reorganized into the State Archival Administration of the Ukrainian SSR People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs.
By this time the archival administration had taken over or established a number of institutions in the country’s expanded western reaches. It established the Central State Historical Archive in Lviv in 1944 on the basis of the earlier State Archive (est 1912 on the basis of an even earlier archive) as well the so-called Bernardine Archives (est 1784 as a repository for court and administrative records). The Chernivtsi Oblast State Archives were set up in 1947 on the basis of the Bukovynian Regional Provincial Archives, established in 1907 as a central repository for the papers in that area. The Transcarpathia State Archives were established in Uzhhorod as a completely new institution, although it incorporated municipal records that had been kept in Berehove and Uzhhorod from as early as the 13th–14th centuries.
The archives administration in Soviet Ukraine had little reorganization after 1960, when it became the Archival Administration (Chief Archival Administration from 1974) of the Council of Ministers of the Ukrainian SSR. This period saw the establishment of several important new repositories (including the Central State Archive-Museum of Literature and Art of the Ukrainian SSR in 1966 and the Central State Archive of Scientific-Technical Documentation of the Ukrainian SSR in 1969), the transfer of the Central State Museum of the October Revolution from Kharkiv to Kyiv in 1970, and the release of Arkhivy Ukraïny as a journal (since 1966).
In 1992 the Supreme Archival Administration of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine assumed command of the archive system in independent Ukraine. It was restructured into the State Committee on Archives of Ukraine in 1999. In the period immediately following independence archives in Ukraine were thrown into chaos as a result of substantial cuts to their budgets, and there have been ongoing concerns about Ukraine’s ability to maintain its archives at a high standard. At the same time, the archives in independent Ukraine have been made openly accessible (in contrast to the Soviet period), and many Ukrainian archivists have subscribed to an ethos in which they see their work as part of a nation-building process. Since October 2002 the head archivist of Ukraine has been Hennadii Boriak.
The main archival institutions in Ukraine today include the State Committee on Archives of Ukraine, the Central State Archive of Higher Organs of Government and Administration (formerly the Archive of the October Revolution), the Central State Archive of Public Organizations, the Central State Historical Archive in Kyiv, the Central State Historical Archive in Lviv, the Central State Film, Photo, and Sound Archive, the Central State Scientific-Technical Archive, and the Central State Archive-Museum of Literature and Art. There are regional archives in every oblast as well as a separate Crimean archive and municipal archives in Kyiv and Sevastopol. The National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine also oversees several major manuscript repositories, including the (Vernadsky) National Library of Ukraine, the Institute of Literature of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, and the (Stefanyk) Lviv Scientific Library of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.
Grimsted, P.K. Archives and Manuscript Repositories in the USSR: Ukraine and Moldova (Princeton, NJ 1988)
Koval’, O.; Matiash, I.; Shandra, V. Ukraïns’ki arkhivisty: Biobibliohrafichnyi dovidnyk. Vol 1: XIX st.–1930-ti rr. (Kyiv 1999)
Matiash, I. Ukraïns’ka arkhivna periodyka 1920–1930-kh rr.: Istoriia, bibliohrafiia, bibliometriia (Kyiv 1999)
Altukhova, O. et al (comps); Onyshchenko, O. et al (eds). Arkhivni ustanovy Ukraïny (Kyiv 2000)
Matiash, I. Arkhivna nauka i osvita v Ukraïni 1920–1930-kh rokiv (Kyiv 2000)
Grimsted, P.K. Trophies of War and Empire: The Archival Heritage of Ukraine, World War II, and the International Politics of Restitution (Cambridge, Mass. 2001)
Matiash, I. Osoba v ukraïns’kii arkhivistytsi (Kyiv 2001)
Matiash, I.; Klymova, K. Narysy istoriï arkhivnoï spravy v Ukraïni (Kyiv 2002)
Bolotenko, G. “Frost on the Walls in Winter: Russian and Ukrainian Archives since the Great Dislocation,” The American Archivist, Vol 66 (Fall/Winter 2003)
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]
Encyclopedia of Ukraine